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Paperback The High King (Chronicles of Prydain, Book 5) Book

ISBN: 0440935741

ISBN13: 9780440935742

The High King (Chronicles of Prydain, Book 5)

(Book #5 in the The Chronicles of Prydain Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

The High King by Lloyd Alexander When the most powerful weapon in the land of Prydain falls into the hands of Arawn, Lord of the Land of Death, Taran and Prince Gwydion rally an army to stand up to... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Poor paperback; great story

gift for 8 yr old


A fitting finale to "The Chronicles of Prydain", it leaves this reader yet wanting more. With perhaps less humour than in earlier volumes, the elevated tone nevertheless suits this tale. All our favourite characters are here and I am always enthralled by their advenntures. Profoundly moving and at times attaining mimesis, this book well deserves the accolades it has been awarded.

The Perfect Fantasy

It is NOT my intent to be inflammatory or insulting with this review. However, as humans, we live and die by comparing and contrasting, so I can't help it if I do so. Please don't shoot the messenger because I rate Alexander's series according to personal standards. Second, I am not merely reviewing The High King here; this is the best place to review the entire Chronicles of Prydain, and so I shall. I have also heard a little rumor recently that Alexander's books have been recommended in reference to Harry Potter, and I have nothing against Harry Potter other than it is a lukewarm, morally tepid tale in which the characters, magic and plot are only occasionally consistent; however, the likeness between Harry and Taran are, in short, the difference between heroism by circumstance and heroism by choice. Now to the review and to more (unintentional) offense: The Chronicles of Prydain slightly resemble (especially in the first part, The Book of Three) The Lord of the Rings because they are both drawn from the same Welsh roots. The Chronicles of Prydain are better, hands down, no questions asked. I have always regarded Tolkien as the untouchable master of Fantasy, until now. Here is why Alexander tops the unbeatable: 1. His characters are closer, more human, and more real. They are all easily accessible. They are all ingeniously well-defined. I am not as well-read as I should be, but I have never read a more likeable, fleshed-out and consistent, large cast of characters. His genius shines through. 2. Where Tolkien is mythology, Alexander is what mythologies are made of. The Chronicles of Prydain cut right to the core of the greatest human stories and their humanity--their sacrifice. The individual acts of sacrifice in each of the books are heartrending, and somehow, almost in an act of divinely-inspired propitiation, heart-mending. Frodo's act of sacrifice at the end of Return of the King pales in comparison to the multitude of sacrificial acts that culminate with Taran's decision at the end of The High King. It is awe-ful. 3. The female characters are superb. Eilonwy is a likeable, strong and strong-willed female who is consistently Eilonwy, the perfect foil to Taran, and perfectly balanced. Alexander did not make her a shrew, a feminist, or anything overboard to the point of ruining the character, the story or the consistency. She is wonderfully written and no less a hero than Taran, though the spotlight is not always on her. Alexander was truly ahead of his time in making a female hero so real, so approachable, so likeable, and truly heroic. 4. The plot is seamless. Books one through five fit together as in a panoramic puzzle, with each thing building on the other. Granted, Tolkien wrote in the style of the medieval, and he did so without flaw, but with Alexander, every scene serves the plot. There is not one wasted word, and few unanswered questions, if any. 5. The plot is character-driven. Unlike Harry Potter, where the deus-ex-machina

The High King

Imagine a place of magic, good and evil. You're an assistant pig keeper trying to help Lord Gwydion destroy all evil in the world. You have three helpers one a bard who whenever he lies one of his harp strings snap. His name is Ffleudder Fflam. You have a princess of Llyre who's the last person able to read old scrolls and inscriptions. Her name is Eilonwy. Then last but definitely not is loyal and faithful Gurgi. Gurgi is a talkative creature. He calls Taran his master because Taran saved his life by feeding him. One reason you should read this book is that it has a lot of adventure. For example, Taran leaves his home in order to help Lord Gwydion, the Prince of Royalty in the Royal House Of Don, kill Arawn Lord Of The Dead. He also wanted to find honor in holding off the deathless Cauldron Born. The last thing he wanted to do was to marry the princess of Llyre. The second reason you should read this book is that it's a breathtaking book. The reason I say that is because he describes everything deeply. For example, when he described the Red Fallows he described it as "a bloody war field scarred with the souls of the fallen." Another example of when he described really well was when he called the river that was frozen, "a wonderland of white ice and snow. My last reason for reading this book is that it's a thrilling book. For example when the cauldron born, you will probably wonder will they destroy Caer Dathyl, the High King Math's castle, or will they perish fighting the deathless cauldron born. Additionally you wonder if they will kill the Death Lord. Lastly you wonder if Lord Gwydion will be able to make it to the Death Castle before the cauldron born are able to hold off the rest of the army that the good side has assembled. Taran, the main character connects to me in some ways. Sometimes I feel like I don't know who I am. But in the end we usually choose the right choice. This book is so good because of all the action. It's breathtakingAnd you can't wait to read and find out what's next. For example, you can't wait to find out if Taran can unsheathe Darwyn, the magical sword that only the people who have earned to be royal by helping the good side win and the bad side loose, and help kill the deathless cauldron born. I recommend this book to ten years old or older. The reason I recommend it to this age group is that it has some scary scenes, in your head of course, in the book. I also would recommend this book to males because the main character is a male pursuing his dream of honor and glory. So now it is up to you. Will you read the chronicles of Prydain and go on an adventure with Taran, or will you choose to just read this boring review a

May smile at a king

I'm always fascinated by books and movies that are parts of larger series, and yet win major awards entirely on their own. A good recent example of this might be the third part of the "Lord of the Rings" films winning the Oscar. Similarly, the final book in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles won the coveted Newbery Award. I pity the graduate film and literature students that discover these award winners without having seen/read their predecessors. Fortunately, "The High King" doesn't require too much backstory or catching up. If you are reading this book on its own you'll undoubtedly be annoyed by its continual references to characters or situations you're not personally familiar with. My advice is not to begin with this, the last in the series. Find "The Book of Three" and carry on from there. "The High King" is good, but it's best within context. When we last saw our heroes, Taran and Gurgi were finally returning to Caer Dallben after more than a year of Taran "finding himself" in the classic sense of the term. At last they are coming home, and to their delight everyone has turned out for their arrival. Unfortunately the joy is not for long. Prince Gwydion has been grievously hurt on his way to the party and his sword of Dyrnwyn has been stolen. Needless to say, this is very bad news. Soon the armies of Arawn-Death-Lord are marching and the time for an end to his reign is at hand. With Taran now a wiser steadier fellow, our band of ragamuffin heroes sets off once more towards adventures, traps, and triumphs. Old friends are met, new friends are found, and many good stout-hearted people die. Still, through it all our heroes never give up and the book is a stirring testament to the will of the average joe. By the end of the book Taran must face his greatest decision yet. And, as author Lloyd Alexander points out, "whether the ending is happy, heartbreaking, or both, readers must decide for themselves". Out of all the Prydain books, this is the one that bears the most similarity to the aforementioned "Lord of the Rings". This is based on a variety of different factors. The types of battles waged. The evil lord's landscaping. The idea that the bad guy has gotten an object of particular power and can now wield it for evil. Even the ending is similar (though Taran makes a surprise decision that is the direct opposite of Frodo's own surprise decision). Don't feel that this book is a weak knock off of Tolkien's (admittedly) better written baby though. Alexander's at the top of his game here, posing as many philosophical queries as he does political jabs. The presentation of a former good guy who believes peace can only come by joining up with bad guys... heck we're talking WWII political theory here. On top of that Taran is at his wisest in this book. He's poised and confident without being cocky. There's the odd inclusion of a terribly annoying fellow named Glew in this book who serves only to create important plot

The journey comes to an end

Lloyd Alexander said in a Scholastic interview just how painful it was to end the Prydain Chronicles, and he definitely does quit while he's ahead. Did I mention I put off reading this book for ages because I didn't want the story to end? "High King" is the most mature of all of the books, a hard story that ends bittersweetly. The sword Dyrnwyn has been stolen by the shapeshifting Arawn Deathlord, and the various cantrevs (kingdoms) of Prydain are launching a military strike against Annuvin, The Land of Death.A scarred Taran and his friends set out on their most dangerous journey, along with the broken sorceress Achren, who wants to get back at Arawn. The end is sad but somehow necessary, though it's a bit reminiscent of the "Gray Havens" scene in LOTR.Taran is no longer the naive boy we see in "Book of Three." Having had plenty of adventure, the events of this book end his adolescence and starts his adulthood, as a strong man. Eilonwy is a bit less twittery in this book, after her adventures and training in the Isle of Mona. Gurgi and Fflewddur are... well, themselves, as is Gwydion. Dallben is perhaps the most changed in Taran's view--in TBOT he was seen as a finicky old man, while here he is the great enchanter we always knew he was.Other characters, such as the lovable bear King Smoit and the great warrior Gwydion. There are some character moments that, I promise, will wrench tears from you.Those of you who are put off by the old-style language of "Taran Wanderer" or extensive battle scenes, be forewarned: There are plenty in this. But it's to be expected in the final chapter of an epic saga, that you'll never want to end."Chronicles" is, after "Lord of the Rings," my favorite fantasy series, and the High King won a Newbery for a reason. Read, and enjoy...

Don't read this book unless you've read the other 4 first!

You will be sorely disappointed if you read this book before reading the first four Chronicles of Prydain. This allegedly children's series is actually a heart-rending tale of the tragedies and triumphs of the trip from teenager to adult. It is, I believe, one of the best stories ever written and a landmark in teenage literature. do yourself a favor--start with The Book of Three and read the other four books before you read The High King. If you do, Taran and his friends will remain with you for life.
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